There's nothing wrong with automation. It often does help improve tedious tasks while opening up new more interesting jobs. However, what keeps getting passed off as automation, isn't automation at all, but shifting labor to customers. You'll notice the people have been disappearing. It's happening at grocery store checkout counters, movie theater ticket purchases and airline check-ins. Now, you can add hotel check-ins to the list. The hotels implementing this say it's to give guests better service -- but I'm not sure that's true. Maybe I've just been lucky (or I have the good fortune to always arrive at odd hours), but I've never had much of a problem checking in to hotels. I honestly can't remember ever having to wait in line at a hotel to check in, but to read this article, you'd think it was a big problem -- that's now solved by the fact that you can "check in" via the web, up to a week before. You get a page to print out and when you get to the hotel you hand over the paper, and they hand you an envelope. It seems like this must save all of about a minute. It must be all those impatient broadband users (note how the check in occurs over the web?). Honestly, I wouldn't have any problem with this, if they simply said outright that this is a way that they can save some money or get rid of tedious/repetitive jobs by making the customer do the work instead. Hell, if we got a discount for doing some work the hotel staff used to have to do themselves, even better. However, this isn't automation, and it's really not designed to make the customer experience better. It's just shifting the labor to the customer.
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